The prestigious Harvard Law Review (HLR) has made the extraordinary decision to ban publication of an article examining the legal framework surrounding Israel’s ongoing Nakba against Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.
Authored by Palestinian human rights lawyer Rabea Eghbariah, who is currently completing his doctoral studies at Harvard Law School, the piece had cleared editorial review and was nearing publication when HLR’s president intervened.
In an email quoted by the Intercept’s recent investigation, Editor Tascha Shahriari-Parsa revealed the president blocked publication over concerns that “editors who might oppose or be offended by the piece” may face harassment by pro-Israel groups.
On Saturday, following several days of debate and a nearly six-hour meeting, the HLS’ full editorial body came together to vote on whether to publish the article, reported the Nation. A subsequent vote rejected the article, with 63 per cent of HLR editors voting against its right to be heard. While no reason was given, the facts speak for themselves – honest discourse about Palestinian suffering remains taboo.
In a joint statement, 25 HLR editors expressed alarm that fear of public intimidation now governs editorial decisions at the university that promises to pursue truth and protect academic freedom.
“At a time when the Law Review was facing a public intimidation and harassment campaign, the journal’s leadership intervened to stop publication,” they wrote. “The body of editors—none of whom are Palestinian—voted to sustain that decision. We are unaware of any other solicited piece that has been revoked by the Law Review in this way.”
The Nation has published the article Harvard Law Review refused to run in full. The article argues that the horrific violence and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza should be recognised as genocide. It states that there is credible evidence that Israel intends to destroy the Palestinian people in whole or in part, meeting the UN definition of genocide.
The author cites numerous statements by Israeli officials, as well as the material conditions imposed on Palestinians, to demonstrate genocidal intent and outcome. He asserts that the blockade of Gaza and mass killing of civilians could plausibly constitute genocide under international law.
Additionally, the article condemns the refusal of Western institutions, including prominent legal scholars and journals, to acknowledge the reality of genocide due to selective application of international law. It states that Palestinian lives are devalued and their innocence denied within a colonial structure.
The author argues the Nakba, referring to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 as well as the ongoing system of oppression, serves to erase Palestinians politically and physically. The article concludes that just as concepts like genocide and apartheid were codified in international law post-WWII, the Palestinian experience of genocide equally deserves recognition in order to end the crimes against them.
Source : MEMO